Horner expects 'rusty' drivers to make plenty of mistakes

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is bracing himself for a costly repair bill once racing finally gets underway in 2020, following the prolonged hiatus imposed on Formula 1 by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

That's because Horner is convinced that such a long-lay off from active duty for all the drivers will have left them less than fully match fit when they are able to return to the cockpit at long last.

“This is probably the longest time all the drivers have been out of a seat,” Horner told The Guardian newspaper this week. “That could be healthy in a way.

"[But] if we begin again in July, they will all be rusty as hell and there will be some incidents!

"It is unnatural for drivers and team members to be sitting on their hands when we would usually be racing," he continued. "The competitor within craves to get going, to get racing.

“I think it is the longest I have not been to a race circuit since I was 12,” he said. “It’s certainly the longest time I have spent in one place since I was at school.

“When you don’t experience something for a long time you realise how much you love it and how much you miss it ... You remain itching to get going."

But while he certainly missed the sense of competition and travelling around the world, Horner is also thankful for the extra time the shutdown has given him at home with his family.

“The positive is it makes you appreciate the people around you more,” he acknowledged. “Friends and family, situations like this make you take stock because this virus can affect anybody, and there is nothing more precious and valuable than life. Particularly your loved and close ones.

"The kids are loving it," he added. "The upside is I get to see them and have had more bath times and bedtime stories than I have during any normal working week. I can step out of the office, read a story upstairs and come back 20 minutes later!"

And like everyone else, Horner has been busy keeping in touch with all his Red Bull colleagues and friends from the F1 paddock despite the 'stay at home' lockdown and social distancing rules.

"We are doing all sorts of things to keep in contact, online fitness classes or pub quizzes, to keep that sense of team," he said of the frequent "town hall meetings" he's held via Zoom video conferencing.

"It’s so important to create that sense of team because it is very unnatural for everyone not to be together. Our strength as a team has always been the way we operate and manage change."

And that sense of team solidarity extends to former drivers as well.

"Recently I had a FaceTime with David Coulthard," Horner revealed. "I haven’t had a FaceTime with him ever! He was sporting a very nautical-looking beard..."

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